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Cosmic Encounter: Cosmic Incursion» Forums » General

Subject: In favor of Gonzo powers: rss

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Chris O
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I feel complimented!

Two of those home-brews you mentioned, Vise and Predator are mine. Vise is a working idea and it has no issues from what I have noticed. It is tight and to the point. However Predator imo wouldn't be necessary to exist if FFG would just include a better version of Magnet that as a main player only controls both sides alliances. Thus you can have an "opponent has no allies" situation, but also him getting everyone else as allies because you have the 40 and some sick flare and want to kill bajillions of ships. Of course this magnet doesn't control how many ships join when allied, but at least 1 will per player. I agree with Jack Reda's Lunatic being included, but Traitor and Hypocrite are almost the same and the final Lunatic must have the best features of all 3 powers.

Out of your old school aliens you selected some of them have issues.

I think Magician has effectively made Laser obsolete, because Kevin hates him and powers like him that destroy someone's control in an encounter completely. I personally see little need for Laser with Magician around.

Mesmer needs a huge buff, because he has a great idea but a very weak power in game. He basically has to be lucky enough to get Artifact cards to even use his power. Vulch gets EVERY artifact that is played, so he never misses out in a sense. I would buff Mesmer by doing 2 powerful things; first, let him play Artifacts completely out of sequence, like Plaguing someone in the Planning Phase when its not even his turn, and secondly, changing his super flare to let him force other players to play the Artifacts of his choice when they go to play something, like let's say someone Plagues him, and he says "nope I got my super, you just played a Mobius Tubes, thanks." Then I'd actually want to play Mesmer.

As for old school powers, Gorgon, Empath, Berserker, and Magnet need to be added in an expansion at some point, but Magnet needs a buff badly.

Tokens are the way to go with Witch for sure though, very simple.

I think we still got at least 3-4 more expansions worth of Mayfair/Eon aliens left. If FFG does the half-half approach with classic/homebrew then I can see 30 older aliens being put in, but no more than that. If FFG keeps it going after 3 more expansions we're going to see all the quality home-brews get introduced.
 
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mar hawkman
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Laser's not much fun to play as either.

Vise is good.

Witch tokens/cards would work great.

Same with Schzoid. that was my favorite suggestion on how to make schzoid work. Schzoid gets a set of tokens to select from and that determines the win condition. Obviously no one else gets to look at the unused tokens, but that's a minor niggle.

Yeah, Mesmer needs to be buffed a bit. the idea is nice, but not very good in practice.
 
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Just a Bill
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I've said this before elsewhere, but a significant issue for the "spell book" idea is its opportunity cost. If it takes 12 or 16 or 20 cards to make Witch work properly, then that's 12 or 16 or 20 cards we're not getting for the cosmic, destiny, reward, hazard, or cool-new-mechanic-we-don't-know-about-yet deck.

It's a fun idea to think about on paper, but it's difficult to make it palatable from a production standpoint. Imagine if Incursion had had the following changes:

* add Witch
* add 16 spell cards for Witch
* add Force
* add 16 assistance cards for Force
* remove Magician
* remove Cryo
* remove reward deck

Granted, this is an arbitrary example, but I am trying to illustrate the very real opportunity cost involved with the spell deck idea. They wouldn't have "removed" the reward deck of course, but this is a way of illustrating that 10 or 20 cards of spellbookery absolutely represent 10 or 20 cards that could have been something much more generally useful (and interesting).

Every component has a cost, and in my opinion those cards are much better spent on game mechanics that benefit (potentially) every game rather than just one or two specific alien powers.
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mar hawkman
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Um, bill, I think it'd be more likely that if they'd tossed in Witch+spellbook at the last moment they'd have simply raised the price a bit. FFG doesn't seem to be too picky about what price they sell things for. They make a good product and pick a fair price afterwards.
 
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Just a Bill
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marhawkman wrote:
Um, bill, I think it'd be more likely that if they'd tossed in Witch+spellbook at the last moment they'd have simply raised the price a bit. FFG doesn't seem to be too picky about what price they sell things for. They make a good product and pick a fair price afterwards.

Um, mar, you are completely missing the point. I was giving a comparative example for purposes of the illustration, not making a claim about FFG pricing models.

Here's what you are missing: Suppose they did exactly what you suggest. The spellbook for that Witch power "thrown in at the last moment" is STILL coming to us at the expense of something else (something much better) that could have been done with those 16 cards. Hazards, Comets, Pulsars, Moons, Planet-Specific Effects, new Artifacts ... who knows what goodness was left on the shelf (temporarily or permanently) to pay the price for one mediocre old Eon power to not be an argument-fest.

My point is not that a spellbook makes the reward deck go away. My point is that a spellbook probably has the same production cost (and probably an even higher design cost) than half of an entire global mechanic. It takes up space in the box, broadens the teaching effort with new players, requires rules development, probably has an eventual FAQ footprint ... there are all kinds of "costs" that both FFG and the players have to "pay" for the existence of the new cards. My point is that I would much rather pay those costs for something that generally benefits the overall system than for something that will probably get used in between 5% and 0% of all games.

But thanks for helping me win the bet I had with myself. ;-)
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Jack Reda
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When it comes to CE, I'm a bit on the selfish side. As I read today about yet another expansion for Arkham Horror (which makes me quite happy, by the way), I see no reason not to have expansion after expansion for Cosmic. And if that means producing some aliens that make use of cards, then so be it. I don't see it as a opportunity cost. On the contrary, not producing it is opportunity cost. They can always put whatever new cards for rewards/hazards/destiny/etc into another expansion. Why sell ourselves short? Let's have it ALL.
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Chris O
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Even though Bill and Jack are saying differing (in a sense) opinions I agree with both.

The best course of action imo is to stick with less complex (component-wise) alien powers and unique and stable global expansions (whichever is deemed most useful among Moons, Lucre, Comets, etc.)

THEN after FFG has decided that enough global expansion type things have come out, because trust me THERE IS A LIMIT to how complicated the game can be before a 40 minute game with 1 power per each of the 6 players and a rewards deck turns into a 3 hour game with tech, lucre, moons, comets, purple monkey dishwashers, and boxes of donuts, THEN they can start pumping out aliens that take up card space like Schizoid, Witch, etc.

We CAN have the best of both worlds, but we are not promised X amount of expansions with X aliens here and X global things there. That's why the MOST IMPORTANT stuff needs to be done first, and the less so later. Some would say that would make purchasing later expansions pointless because they would contain all the so-so and sub-par aliens, but that is assuming FFG plans a total of like 6+ expansions which I highly doubt they will do. It's moot to me.
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mar hawkman
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The Warp wrote:
When it comes to CE, I'm a bit on the selfish side. As I read today about yet another expansion for Arkham Horror (which makes me quite happy, by the way), I see no reason not to have expansion after expansion for Cosmic. And if that means producing some aliens that make use of cards, then so be it. I don't see it as a opportunity cost. On the contrary, not producing it is opportunity cost. They can always put whatever new cards for rewards/hazards/destiny/etc into another expansion. Why sell ourselves short? Let's have it ALL.
EXACTLY! (what I meant, but not quite what I was saying) It's not really an either/or scenario, it's a how much/when scenario. They might delay making something else, but either they quit making Cosmic expansions or they'll make it eventually.
 
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Just a Bill
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Messianic wrote:
The best course of action imo is to stick with less complex (component-wise) alien powers and unique and stable global expansions (whichever is deemed most useful among Moons, Lucre, Comets, etc.)

THEN after FFG has decided that enough global expansion type things have come out, because trust me THERE IS A LIMIT to how complicated the game can be before a 40 minute game with 1 power per each of the 6 players and a rewards deck turns into a 3 hour game with tech, lucre, moons, comets, purple monkey dishwashers, and boxes of donuts, THEN they can start pumping out aliens that take up card space like Schizoid, Witch, etc.

This is a very sensible approach. If we could count on getting unlimited expansion sets, then I would have no issue with the idea of individual powers chewing up the scenery. But of course we can't count on unlimited sets, so I'm always going to support getting the more general, more usable combinations of things first and the more specific, more costly-per-alien stuff later.

Jack and mar, maybe I can illustrate my position by issuing a challenge:

Come up with a hypothetical next expansion set (call it Odyssey if you like) that is roughly comparable in size to Incursion (or a bit larger if you like). Put in whatever you want. Don't get too detailed, but give us enough information to know how many pieces there are of each component (aliens, cards, ships, cardboard tokens, whatever). Make sure you include some combination of (say) Witch, Force, and Schizoid using alien-specific cards -- somewhere between 12 and 32 cards, let's say (these 12 to 32 cards are the only thing that is required by this challenge; the rest is up to you). Finally, if possible, suggest a realistic price point for this expansion set (but that's not essential).

Post the set, and I will then do my best to demonstrate how that product can be improved for a majority of players by taking out the alien-specific cards and putting in an exact same number of different cards.

That's what I mean by opportunity cost. Not FFG's opportunity to sell a product; our opportunity to get component set A vs. component set B that takes up the same space and requires the same cost.
 
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Jack Reda
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I think there's probably a point where you actually don't want to get more cards for the encounter deck and rewards deck- when it starts to get unwieldy and Mayfairy. When you have an expansion that doesn't include a card specific variant, like Hazards, and you're just throwing in more cards, I think you can afford to set aside some of those cards for a cool alien that otherwise wouldn't work as well.

Cosmic Odyssey should have the Hazard deck, for sure. And 20 flares, plus some destiny cards for system black. Figuring it will be the same size and content make-up as CI, I would prefer that all 32 of the remaining cards would be devoted to the Hazards. No point in throwing in extra cards for this expansion.

But, a year later, when Cosmic Alliance is being put together... Let's say for argument's sake that there's 20 more aliens and an 8th player (for Team Cosmic!)... 32 more cards. Sure, some should be new techs... some should be new encounter cards (8 players, you're gonna need a few more), and maybe even some additional Hazards and/or Rewards. There's room for some cards specific to one alien.

10 Techs
8 more cards for Encounter deck (1 Artifact (Warp Break?), 2 Negotiates, 1 Reinforcement, 4 attack cards ranging from 04 to 18)

14 cards left. I think there's a compelling argument that more Hazards or Rewards is actually a bad idea for this expansion, since 14 wouldn't be enough to really make use of either variant if you don't have CI or CO. So, this really gives you the chance to add in a couple of aliens that use cards.

The 4th expansion (and I don't think a 4th expansion is in the realm of "unlimited expansions", but a somewhat realistic outlook) could tackle a bigger concept, like Moons or Lucre, as well as including new cards for your Hazard and Reward decks.
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mar hawkman
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yeah, I gotta agree with Jack. I woulddn't want to put an alien specific deck in EACH expansion, but eveery now and then would be okay.
 
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Just a Bill
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In general that's a pretty good post, Jack, and you make some decent points. If I have to tolerate such a fat-ass footprint for things like Force and Schizoid, you have at least laid out a framework that minimizes the pain. I'll just point out a couple of places where I see it differently.

The Warp wrote:
I think there's probably a point where you actually don't want to get more cards for the encounter deck and rewards deck- when it starts to get unwieldy and Mayfairy.

True enough, but (a) those aren't the only options for new cards, not by a longshot, and (b) just because a person owns 100 cosmic cards doesn't mean he uses them all in every game. Just off the top of my head, imagine a 15-card pack of altered Negotiate cards with special functions on them that replace the normal Negotiates (in some games, for a change of pace). I have no idea what text is on those cards, but I'm already more jazzed about that than Force and Witch.

The Warp wrote:
Cosmic Odyssey should have the Hazard deck, for sure. And 20 flares, plus some destiny cards for system black. Figuring it will be the same size and content make-up as CI, I would prefer that all 32 of the remaining cards would be devoted to the Hazards. No point in throwing in extra cards for this expansion.

Sounds about right.

The Warp wrote:
But, a year later, when Cosmic Alliance is being put together... There's room for some cards specific to one alien.

10 Techs
8 more cards for Encounter deck (1 Artifact (Warp Break?), 2 Negotiates, 1 Reinforcement, 4 attack cards ranging from 04 to 18)

14 cards left. I think there's a compelling argument that more Hazards or Rewards is actually a bad idea for this expansion, since 14 wouldn't be enough to really make use of either variant if you don't have CI or CO.

That depends upon the specific implementation of Hazards, of course. Also, I don't see any reason why a 14-card reward deck wouldn't work just fine for the small fraction of players that would purchase the base game and Alliance but not purchase Incursion. If anything, it could be a "postview" or "sample" that encourages the purchase of the earlier expansion.

But there are tons of other options for those 14 cards. Comets ... more alternate "Classic" flares for existing powers ... something like Stars in card form ... or even a preview of a larger future mechanic like moons (one moon per player picked from 14? no reason that couldn't work just fine until the following expansion blows open the moon playing field). Heck, I think I would rather get reprints with errata for the 14 most-messed-up prior cards than get 14 cards that only work with Witch.

The other opportunity cost to consider is the powers themselves. If Force and Witch are in the game but we still don't have Filth or Diplomat or Lunatic or some cool new alien we haven't seen yet, then the set is weaker than it would otherwise be. I hope to get as many classics as possible someday, but not until more generally useful things have already been "secured".

If Witch and Force were standout, well-loved classic powers that people were clamoring for, I might see it differently. But they have always been pretty mediocre, and I (honest-and-for-true) would rather have six "reprints" of Kickers on a cosmic-deck card back plus eight errata-reprints of broken cards, than 14 cards that can only be used with one or two non-standout powers.
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Just a Bill
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A picture is worth 1015.4 words (words go down when gold is up), so I thought I'd mock up a few cards to illustrate the idea of a swappable cosmic-deck "module". (Don't put too much stock in the specific texts; this is just what I threw together after only 10 minutes of design time, most of which was spent in Photoshop.)


Again, the concept here is a suite of 15 such cards that you can swap in to replace your normal Negotiates (when you aren't training newbies). So your cosmic deck distribution doesn't really change, although the basic RPS encounter dynamic does change somewhat in this case (and purposefully so).

Not that I'm saying such a mechanic is needed, or even the best use of 15 cards. It just struck me as a fairly easy way to illustrate the principle of a small number of cards offering a new(ish) mechanic without bloating the deck. Sort of negotiates with built-in mini-artifacts.

This same trick could be applied to other subsets of the cosmic deck. Another easy one to design would be an alternate Reinforcement card suite in which the numbers are significantly larger but each has a restriction or a cost to play it (sacrifice a ship, discard an artifact, lose a card at random from your hand, only playable as an ally, only targets the opposing side, etc.)
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I find the possibility of creating custom decks very appealing. This is something I would like to see since it opens space for a lot of interesting ideas and variations.

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Brian Hoare
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Xaphniel wrote:

I'd like to make a case for not only several specific homebrews but the inclusion of crazy "ultraviolet" level powers in the next expansion.


My inner pedant says 'infra-red':)

Xaphniel wrote:

Firstly, the problem with such powers (Witch, Scizoid, Force, etc.) lies mainly in the fact that they are open-ended and ripe for rules-abuse.


But that's what makes them special. I'd hate to see them 'tamed'.
I won't mourn them if they're never re-released but it'd break my heart to see them shackled.

Xaphniel wrote:

(unless people are dying for the return of classic Wrack, Worm, Magnet, Aura, Crystal...)


I would truly rejoice in the return of classic Aura. Filth, Wrack and Crystal would all be welcomed back.

 
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